Flag Dance (The)

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X:1 T:Flag Dance, The M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig N:"Performed by Mr. Sutton" Q:"Allegro" B:John Watlen - The Celebrated Circus Tunes (Edinburgh, 1791, p. 19) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:C g|e2c cdc|e2c cdc|d2e f2e|d2c BAG| c2d e2f|g2g gfe|d2e f2e|d2e !fermata!f2g| e2c cdc|e2c cdc|d2e f2e|dec BAG| c2d e2f|g2g gab|c'2g gaf|e2c c2||

FLAG DANCE, THE. AKA and see "Danced by Aldridge (1)." Scottish?, Jig (6/8 time). C Major (Watlen): D Major (Aird). Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'. John Watlen, in his Celebrated Circus Tunes (1791) notes the tune was "perform'd by Mr. Sutton". The title of Watlen's volume refers to the Royal Circus in Edinburgh, an extension of Phillip Astley's London-based Royal Circus. There were several period performers by the name of Sutton whom he might be referring to, but this Sutton was an equestrian performer who specialized in dancing on horseback. The Flag Dance, or most likely any number of dances with flags, seemed to have been popular during the era. The Lewes Journal of August 16th, 1802, reported that "The Prince has purchased the Promenade Grove, on a part of which His Royal Highness intends to have erected a spacious tennis-court."--

But the end is not yet. Hilarity rules the hour ! On September 2nd, there was a Grand Gala, with Tight-Rope Dancing— the "celebrated Signor Saxoni (just arrived from Paris) will shew his favourite Tambourine Dance and Hornpipe, also the Russian Manual and Platoon Exercise on the Rope, concluding with the celebrated Flag Dance." As a matter of course, there were fireworks in the evening; and the Prince of Wales's Band discoursed delightful music during the display.

The tune was earlier printed by Edinburgh bandleader and composer Alexander McGlashan as "Danced by Aldridge (1)," referencing another famous period dancer, Richard Aldridge.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - copied from Aird's Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (1782-97) [O'Neill]. Aird copied the tune from John Watlen's Celebrated Circus Tunes (Edinburgh, 1791)--in fact, Aird copied the whole of Watlen's book, without source attribution, for his Selection, vol. 4 (Glasgow, 1796).

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 114, p. 45. Hardings All Round Collection, 1905; No. 144, p. 45. O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 90. Watlen (The Celebrated Circus Tunes), 1791; p. 19.

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